Early sighting of deadly Man O’War on West Cork beach

January 8th, 2022 8:00 PM

By Emma Connolly

Pretty, but pretty deadly! Author ER Murray spotted the Man O’War this week – unusually for January.

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A DEADLY Portuguese Man O’War was spotted washed up on Long Strand earlier this week in what’s believed to be further evidence of climate change.

Typically, the potentially-lethal creature would not be seen in this region until at least September or October.

However, in the past year or so, they’ve been popping up on shores on our coastline, and in the water, all year round. Last November walkers at Inchydoney and at various points along the coastline, from Ring to Simon’s Cove and out to Dunworley, spotted huge numbers of them dotted on beaches.

And this week a photograph of one on Long Strand was posted on Twitter by author ER Murray.

Nic Slocum of Whale Watch West Cork said they were quite a rare creature to see as recently as up to three years ago.

‘From my own personal experience in the waters off Baltimore, Mizen and Toe Head, I’ve really only seen them in the past three years.

‘And even then, they’d only be seen out on the sea during summer months. Now they’re visible all year round with the warming of our oceans,’ he said.

Irish waters usually only ever see three types of jelly fish, he said, the purple stinger, the moon jelly fish and the compass jelly fish.

‘However, in the last few years there have been a few sightings of the golden lion species here, which would usually only have been on the east coast, and very occasionally we might bump into the barrel jellyfish,’ he said.

He urged swimmers to be cautious if they encounter the Portuguese Man O’War as they can deliver an extremely nasty sting.

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